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Surprise! Now What?

This is the time of year when many cute and cuddly puppies and kittens are exchanged as wiggly gifts to excited family members and loved ones. Whether free or purchased from a reputable breeder, the responsibilities of pet ownership are the same and it is important to prepare for the gifted pet. It is easy to get caught in the excitement of the furry present and forget about all of the not so fun and expensive details that go along with pet ownership.

Don’t Skimp on Wellness Visits

After researching and purchasing the perfect pet for their family, many new owners will readily shower their puppies and kittens with closets of clothing and accessories, more toys than can be played with, and all of the treats that will fit in the cabinet. However, in the veterinary hospital we frequently see skepticism and reluctance during first exams. During these first important visits to the animal hospital,  your veterinarian will set up individualized vaccination protocols, prescribe preventative parasite control, and educate about the pros and cons of spay/neutering . Yes, these things all quickly add up financially during the first few visits for your pet but will hopefully work to avoid more costly and potentially devastating illness in the future. When faced with an estimate of $1500+ to nurse a puppy through parvo infection, the cost of a preventative vaccine does not seem so unreasonable. Prevention is usually more cost effective and definitely safer for your pet, no matter what the health concern is.

Investigate, Budget, and Plan Ahead

The best way to be prepared for your new four legged friend is to plan ahead beyond the initial purchase and responsibly budget for a series of initial wellness visits. Call ahead to your veterinarian and get an estimate of what to expect for the first few visits. Puppies and kittens have vaccines that are required by law and some recommended by circumstance and lifestyle. Deworming benefits both you and your pet since some parasites our animals carry can be spread to humans. Heartworm protection and safe flea control are easier on your pet and wallet if you address them early on, before they become a health issue. Planned spay and neutering can extend the life of your puppy or kitten by avoiding unwanted pregnancy, infection, and some cancers later in life.

Sometimes Happiness is in the Details

A happy and healthy pet can make a wonderful addition to any houshold. A little research and preparation a head of time can alleviate much of the frustration and aggravation caused by an expensive “surprise”. By recognizing and addressing all of the fun and unfun details of pet ownership in a responsible way, your family can make a furry, kissing, wiggling surprise a wonderful gift any time of the year.